Paint Recycling

primer, latex paint, oil-based paint, wood stain, and clear varnish - graphic from PaintCare

Give Away or Donate Paint for Reuse

 If your paint is still usable, consider donating or re-gifting it! Reuse is better than recycling.

  • Check with your favorite school, non-profit organization, or theater group to see if they accept paint donations.
  • Give away paint to your neighbors on community sharing websites such as Nextdoor Kirkland or Buy Nothing Kirkland. Even small amounts of paint can be useful to crafters and DIYers.

No Cost Paint Recycling

Black woman holding box of paint to recycle, next to Black man and car with trunk open, containing more cans of paint

Residents and business can drop off unwanted paint, stains and clear finishes for recycling at PaintCare locations at no charge. Participating PaintCare drop-off locations accept the following:

  • House paint and primers (latex or oil-based)
  • Stains
  • Deck and concrete sealers
  • Clear finishes (e.g., varnishes, shellac)

All locations accept at least 5 gallons of paint from each customer. Paint must be dropped off in its original container with the original manufacturer’s label on it.

Dropping off leftover paint at PaintCare sites is free of charge. The program is supported by a fee placed on sales of new paint in the state.

Find paint recycling locations near you

Errata: Our billing insert about the PaintCare program, which went out with residential utility bills this summer, incorrectly stated that McLendon Hardware accepts 20 gallons of paint for recycling per visit. They accept only 10 gallons per visit. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please confirm details for the specific location on the PaintCare website, or by contacting the location, before bringing paint to recycle.


Proper Paint Cleanup

All storm drains lead to Lake Washington. Only rain should go down the drain, never paint, even if it's latex!

  • Never wash equipment or dump rinse water in the street, gutter, storm drains or ditches.
  • Never pour excess paint of any kind down a storm drain or yard drain.
  • Use tarps and drip pans to collect paint drips and spills.
  • Wash brushes and rollers in sinks, not outside.

Learn more about keeping paint out of our drains, creeks, and lakes at

For very small quantities, mostly dry paint, and unmarked containers

Although it is not hazardous, latex paint should NOT be poured into storm drains or down sinks. If you only have a tiny amount of paint left in your can, or it's mostly gone dry, or it's not in its original container, latex paint can be dried out and thrown away in your household trash. Oil-based paint is considered hazardous and MUST be dropped off for safe disposal.

To dry out latex paint, mix in kitty litter (or paint hardener):
1. Add equal parts kitty litter to the paint.
2. Stir until it reaches an oatmeal-like consistency.
3. Allow to sit for at least an hour.
4. Throw away in the trash with the lid off.

How to dispose of latex paint from King County DNRP on Vimeo.

See other methods of drying out latex paint. .